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  G4M1 Model 11 Betty Manufacture Number ? Tail F-???
IJN
4th Kōkūtai

Pilot  FCPO Heihachi Kawai (KIA)
Co-Pilot  Sea1c Hikojirō Inoue (KIA)
Observer  PO2c Yuichi Watarai (KIA)
Observer  Sea2c Shigeyuki Kuwana (KIA)
Radio  PO1c Ryuji Morikawa (KIA)
Radio  PO3c Takejirō Ueda (KIA)
Mechanic  PO1c Mairu Ōtsuka (KIA)
Mechanic  PO2c Shigeyuki Miyamoto (KIA)

Crashed  March 21, 1942


Aircraft History
Built by Mitsubishi at Nagoya No. 3 Works. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) as G4M1 Model 11 Betty manufacture number unknown. Assigned to the 4th Kōkūtai. Tail code F-??? (last three digits unknown).

Mission History
On March 21, 1942 took off from Vunakanau Airfield near Rabaul on an afternoon solo armed reconnaissance mission over Port Moresby.

Over the target intercepted by two Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) 75 Squadron that took off from 7-Mile Drome including P-40E Kittyhawk piloted by Wackett and P-40E Kittyhawk piloted by Cox. Both pilots had only landed two hours prior. The pair climbed 10,000' to attack the bomber from the rear quarter with both pilots firing ten separate bursts. To evade their fire, the bomber attempted to skid, hid in a cloud then jettisoned its bomb load.

Cox scored hits on the port engine causing it to stream black smoke and oil. Wackett hit the right engine. Damaged, the bomber exploded and crashed into the sea one mile west of Basilisk Light (Basilisk Beacon) on Nateara Reef to the south of Port Moresby. The entire crew was killed in the interception or crash.

During the interception, Port Moresby signals held down a Morse key, in a crude attempt to jam any radio warning from the Japanese bomber that Australian fighter planes had arrived. Later, radio messages for hours from Rabaul were heard, presumably attempting to reach this bomber and seemed to confirm they were unaware it had been shot down or reported the presence of fighters.

References
Kodochosho, 4th Kōkūtai, March 21, 1942
Mitsubishi Type 1 Rikko 'Betty' Units of WWII page 39
Seek and Strike page 13
Thanks to Osamu Tagaya, Richard Dunn, Luca Ruffato and Edward Rogers for additional information

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Last Updated
May 11, 2018

 

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